The Hippopotamus amphibius, or "water horse" according to the Greeks, is thought to have e
North of Maun, the track came to an abrupt end at the edge of the Khwai River. The track continued on the other side and the villagers in Mababe, population of about 200, said the government was working on a bridge-but hadn't done anything in several years.
The plan: head upriver until we found a spot shallow enough to cross that wasn't congested with elephants, hippos or crocs, and enter the Moremi Game Reserve at the North Gate. After navigating a web of tracks from other lost souls, we found a hub-deep crossing with a sandy bottom, located a suitable winch anchor in case we got stuck, scanned the banks for crocs, and forged across.
Camps in Moremi are named after the log bridges they are near, and we'd talked the park ranger into letting us move our reservation to Third Bridge Camp on the remote finger of the delta. Moremi is one massive floodplain, and in the Dry, most of the water has receded enough to pass safely. Ninety kilometers and a dozen water crossings later, we wandered into camp. It was almost dark and we made a quick attempt at scrounging some firewood. Returning from the bush, the ranger came by and informed us to stay near camp: "A leopard made a kill where you just were last night."
Angolan floodwaters cover much of the Moremi Game Reserve during the Wet, but in the Dry,
We were on the final push to the border town of Kasane. But the road less traveled drew us still north to the waters of the Linyanti Marsh, and beyond lay the neck of Namibia's long-disputed Caprivi Strip. Allen and I had traveled in Africa before, but three weeks in the bush was about his limit (something about underwear and showers), and his new bride awaited at home. Our T4A GPS map was invaluable in navigating the seldom-traveled two-tracks along the Linyanti. Wildebeest and Kudu watched cautiously as we zigzagged our way east through thick mopani, acacia, and sausage trees. African fish eagles and bataleurs, great aerial predators of the Africa skies, held lofty perches above, waiting for unsuspecting prey. Camp this night would again be shared with packs of pachyderms and hyenas.
Knowing that Zambian fuel was threefold the cost in Botswana ($12USD vs. $4USD), we topped the tank and jerrycans to the brim and headed for the Kazengula Ferry. It had been 18 days since we entered the Kalahari. Lion, elephant, and hyenas had roamed our campsites, we'd run for our lives from a massive brush fire in the Central Kalahari, pitched our tents on an island in the Jewel of Africa, stood in awe beneath thousand-year-old Baobabs, and spun twenty-six hundred kilometers on the H3's odometer. I'd be dropping Allen at the airport the next day and be on my own for the next month. I slipped our well-worn Botswana map in the glove box, pulled out Zambia, and unfolded the next chapter of the Hummer Africa Expedition.